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Ducking, diving, flipping and rolling – Meet Banham Zoo’s new sea lions

PUBLISHED: 17:41 16 March 2018

Banham Zoo. The new Sea Lion Bay.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Banham Zoo. The new Sea Lion Bay. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Diving, rolling, flipping and synchronizing head swivels to gaze at a delighted crowd, five new sea lions at Banham Zoo just know they’re the stars of the show.

Banham Zoo. The new Sea Lion Bay.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYBanham Zoo. The new Sea Lion Bay. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

They’re currently enjoying a new £600,000 large salt-water marine habitat at Banham Zoo, officially opened yesterday, which looks set to be a huge attraction as the zoo celebrates its 50th birthday this year.

While the man who set up Banham Zoo 50 years ago, Martin Goymour, thanked everyone involved in the project – from local engineers Plandescil to Lloyds Bank, which lent money for the new Sea Lion Bay – the crowd was transfixed by the five super swimmers which love their new space.

The bay has a deep-water pool, rocks, ledges, waterfall, shade and a large viewing area, making the residents’ engaging antics ideal for the opening ceremony.

The California Sea Lions are a personal favourite of Banham founder Mr Goymour, and he’s delighted to give them such a happy home in the zoo’s birthday year – also the year he retires and hands over the reins to Prof David Field, late of London and Whipsnade Zoos.

Banham Zoo. The new Sea Lion Bay.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYBanham Zoo. The new Sea Lion Bay. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“They are my long term favourites, they are sleek, active, fun, intelligent and they are the ultimate to me of the seals and sea lions,” Mr Goymour said.

As an excited opening ceremony crowd watched sea lions Elmo, Emmett, Ineke, Filippa and her daughter Gala frolicking in their new pool, Mr Goymour stressed the importance of acting not to pollute their – and our – oceans and food chains with plastic.

“Our children and grandchildren will reap tears from what we sow now unless we change our ways,” he warned.

Prof Field hopes that watching and falling in love with the five happy sea lions will enthuse visitors to care and engage with nature and the environment.

Banham Zoo. The new Sea Lion Bay.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYBanham Zoo. The new Sea Lion Bay. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“This is a habitat where they can play, where they can display all those amazing behaviours and give us a better insight into how they live.

“They are so magnificent, they do bring out the best in people,” he added.

The zoo is now drawing on people’s love of animals to encourage them to get involved in conservation – including removing all single-use plastic drink bottles from its shop.

Sea Lion Bay is the latest development at Banham Zoo, run by the Zoological Society of East Anglia, which is celebrating 50 years of wildlife conservation.

Banham Zoo. The new Sea Lion Bay.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYBanham Zoo. The new Sea Lion Bay. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

It is home to hundreds of other creatures from penguins to big cats, birds of prey, red panda, mongoose, giraffes and sloth.

banhamzoo.co.uk


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